October 19th, 2012
02:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama diagnoses 'Romnesia'

(CNN) – After an evening of light-hearted jabs, President Barack Obama returned to his cutting criticism of rival Mitt Romney Friday, accusing the GOP nominee of forgetting the hard right positions he took during the GOP primary in order to seem more moderate.

Obama, speaking at a rally in the Northern Virginia suburb of Fairfax, told the crowd his opponent was suffering "Romnesia" after seeming to change his position on contraception, coal, equal pay, and taxes.

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"He told folks he was the ideal candidate for the tea party," Obama said of Romney's stance during the primary season. "Now suddenly he is saying 'what, who me?' He is forgetting what his own positions are and he is betting that you are too. I mean he is changing up so much, back tracking and sidestepping."

Obama said he and his supporters needed to come up with a term for "this condition he is going through," striking upon "Romnesia."

"That's what it's called," Obama declared. "Now I'm not a medical doctor. But I do want to go over some of the symptoms with you because I want to make sure nobody else catches it."

He continued using the neologism to slam Romney for what he said was a slippery set of positions, including on a set of issues important to women.

"If you say you're for equal pay for equal work but you keep refusing to say whether or not you will sign a bill that protects equal pay for equal work, you might have Romnesia," Obama said, referring to the Republican candidate's stance on the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which strengthens the ability of women to sue employers over unequal pay.

Vice President Joe Biden piled on Friday, saying at a separate event in Florida that "Romnesia" was a "bad disease."

"And it's contagious, because all of a sudden Paul Ryan, the budget hawk, the guy who introduced a whole budget plan that actually already passed, it already passed the House of Representatives. All of a sudden he doesn't remember it, he doesn't remember it," he said, referring to Romney's running mate.

Romney has yet to clearly state his position on the law, though an adviser said after the second presidential debate that Romney would not seek to repeal it as president.

Obama continued Friday, "If you say women should have access to contraceptive care, but you support legislation that would let employers deny contraceptive care, you might have a case of Romnesia. If you say you will protect a women's right to choose but you stand up in a primary debate and say you'd be delighted to sign a law outlawing that right to choose in all cases, then you have definitely got Romnesia."

Romney, who says he does not oppose contraception use in women, did voice opposition to a provision included in Obama's health care law that required employers – including Catholic colleges and hospitals – to provide contraception coverage in their insurance plans.

The Obama administration announced in February what it called a compromise to that rule in which free contraception coverage still must be offered to employees of religiously affiliated colleges and hospitals, but health insurers - rather than the employers - would have to cover the cost.

Romney promises on the campaign trail to repeal Obama's health law, including the contraception provision.

Romney's campaign recently battled back accusations the candidate is moderating his stance on reproductive rights after he said in an interview he wouldn't pursue any new abortion legislation. He later said he would seek to remove federal funding from Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court justices that would support revisiting and overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming a woman's right to have an abortion.

Barbara Comstock, a Virginia delegate and Romney campaign surrogate, said Obama was using his attacks on the former Massachusetts governor to mask a failed jobs record.

"When you don't have a plan to run on, you stoop to scare tactics," Comstock said.

- CNN Political Reporter Shannon Travis contributed to this report.

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- Early voting opens in seven states, D.C.

- Sparring over economy in weekly addresses

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama • Virginia
soundoff (619 Responses)
  1. Anonymous


    you want to see the 47% , go to yooou tube and watch the obama phone lady

    haystupid. Look in the mirror and get a clue. YOU are just one of many millions that make up that 47% Romney was ridiculing.

    October 19, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. lily

    Somehow after signing that equal pay law- for women that he touts-Obama forgot all about it–he continued to pay his Female Staff 18% less than his male staff--hmmmmm--

    October 19, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. ItsTrue

    anoel2005 and the rest of you who oppose redistribution
    Currently the very wealthy are able to get OUR government to Redistribute the wealth to their favor. They have been doing this for years. Why aren't you upset about it? They spend millions fixing the system so that they get richer and richer. That's Wealth Distribution and that's why the middle class is getting crushed. It's not the welfare people. most are on welfare because of the disparity in wages where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The wealthy can spend millions to lobby for rules that favor them, and they often succeed – the rest of the the nation can't. So redistribution of wealth that has already redistributed to favor the rich is just a way to even things up for the rest of the nation. Why do you oppose this?

    October 19, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Liberals are so damned stupid

    To: Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How can he make jokes about anything when millions of American's are struggling?
    Put a sock in it, and get a freaking grip Laura!
    Millions of Americans are ALWAYS struggling.
    You probably didn't have a problem with Dubya cracking off jokes while tens of thousands of Americans were struggling AND DROWNING with Katrina.
    Or how about when hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and military were killed by Dubya in an unnecessary and unjust war? Didja ask Dubya to stop cracking jokes during those many years?
    Probably not.
    Shut up and sit down.
    Typical response from a fanatic liberal these days. They simply cannot handle an opinion that differs from their own.

    No, Americans haven't always struggled. At least, not to the extent they have been lately. Your assessment of the war is sickening to say the least. I suppose you care little to watch our allies be invaded and tortured too? You're the kind of liberal that is the worst. You think only of yourselves, and haven't the slightest clue about the facts. You forgive your dear Obama for any transgression and lie. Yet, you blast others for the same thing. The liberal loons, yes, I think you fit that description. Yes, it is indeed you who should shut it, educate yourself beyond a 3rd grade level, get a job, and look at the world for what it is.

    October 19, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. NameDoug

    Flip flop Romney should be embarrassed trying to represent us americans in the world while so badly running for president, SHAME

    October 19, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. Name w.bullock

    Rommesia mock rival obama on fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    October 19, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. LU

    My heart goes out to the ones that lost their loved ones in the attacks of terror.
    How ever, enough of this talk and blame? This is all that is being hashed and rehashed on the news. Lets get to business at hand!
    Let us not forget that we have lost many in this senseless war. Lets give the same amount of credit to our men putting their lives on the line at this very moment!

    October 19, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Yeah, that Romney bunch. Let me make sure I've got this straight. For a few extra dollars in our wallets each month – if Romney wins – we get:
    1. Overturn of Roe v Wade – which means a lot of new children to care for with tax dollars
    2. Repeal of "Obamacare" – which I kinda like
    3. Lots of unwed parents
    4. Lots of new daddies
    5. Worn down roads/bridges/schools because the money that should have repaired them is now back in our pockets
    6. Pay $6000 to help mom/dad/grandma/grandpa pay for healthcare
    7. No equal pay
    8. Step backwards in civil rights
    9. No contraception for women – but lots of viagra (see 1, 2, 3, & 4 above)
    10. Self-deportation
    11. Children who have been in the US since kindergarten or sooner will have to go to mexico, or someplace
    12. Tax cut for the rich
    13. Increased military spending – guess we'll need it after he kicks off a war with Iran (which none of his sons will fight)
    14. No prosecution for violence against women – unless she really didn't enjoy it
    15. A president who thinks veterans, retirees, the sick, and those holding down low paying jobs are worthless freeloaders who won't take responsibility for their own lives – hmmm...

    I pass! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012!!

    October 19, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. ronb

    "Voting fraud is a FELONY!! $10000 fine and up to 3.5 yrs in jail!" LOL Looks like they should have put some of those billboards up in republican districts!! The GOP let this poor guy down. Now, he's going to go to jail for them. Good looking out, GOP....

    October 19, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Tyler

    It's AMAZING to me that all of you Obummers will settle for such mediocrity. If Obama is reelected, 4 years from now when this country is the world's hobo you'll only have yourselves to blame. But hey! You'll all have your Obamaphones! Yippie!! That is, until Obama's gets his borrowing cut off an he can't pay for your phones. Then you'll all be in the streets rioting. Just wait and watch.

    October 19, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. 0rangeW3dge

    the "Severely Conservative" one-term Governor has proved Rick Santorum right, Mitt is the absolutely wrong candidate to run for President

    October 19, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Jer

    First time in my life that I have ever registered to vote, didn't know who to vote for, so watched debates. Both candidates seem like great guys, but I think in leaning towards Romney, I feel as if 4 years ago Obama lead us into false hope and everyone followed because of fear, seriously look at him, I think he's done more harm than good.

    October 19, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. paulm5545

    Like a small child when confronted with criticism, failure or accusation, Obama deflects it all to blame others. Now, he thinks he's being funny. This was the man who was going to bring us all together. This is beyond disgusting. These are not the characteristics I am looking for in a president. Give up the position of president sir, and go back to your talk show appearances, or better yet, grow up.

    October 19, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. conrad

    Regan was the Gipper, but now the GOP has produced a Flipper.

    Gipper and Flipper

    October 19, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  15. jj

    Honestly do not see how Romney can win. Obama has the electoral votes.

    October 19, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. qwerty

    Romneyhood, Romnesia...... what else Mr. President, you are such a bully.

    October 19, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. PJ

    Why aren't there headlines like Obamanesia. I mean how many of his promises has he forgot? How about that pathetic campaign slogan of "Forward" as in Forward straight off a cliff. He wants to blame Bush for the crash of the economy when just as much blame can go to Clinton when he repealed the Glass Steagle Act and the rest of those idiot democrats pushed for Economic Modernization act that set us up for the mortgage crisis.

    October 19, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. Padraig

    So, why doesn't he explain his failures namely the economy, foreign policy, employment, inflation, the defecit, failed programs, the 90 billion dollars he spent on subsidies for the green projects like Solendra or the Volt vehicle which all failed. He needs to stop making the same campaign promises as he did 4 years ago and the village idiots who follow him should see that.

    Romney is not much better but I will say I cannot go on with 4 more years of Obama in the White House.

    October 19, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. TJ

    We'll get to call Obama a loser after the November elections. Someone needs to tell the Comedian-In-Chief that this is no laughing matter.

    October 19, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  20. Zon

    Classic. Romnesia, I like the sound of that.

    October 19, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Blinded by the republican lie

    That was just awesome!!!

    October 19, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. Ms. T

    I'm loving it. Smile people, it's funny!

    October 19, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  23. Smeagel4T

    Much of Romney's economic team is the same as Bush's FAILED economic team. Com'on, really? They trying to do better this time - destroy the economy in only 4 years instead of 8?

    October 19, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. Vgott

    If you say Obama does not have a plan to run on and hence using scare tactics, but that precisely what you do (not showing your plan but the only plan you have is to blame Obama), then you have Romnesia.

    October 19, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. Mark

    Romney won't bring anyone together, kick them to the curb. Romney will be the dominate CEO in the White House, do what I say or else. Democracy will be taking it last breaths under Romney/Ryan.

    October 19, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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